photography terms for the momtographer

These 24 photography terms will help you learn photography even faster!

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When it comes to understanding photography, it can be a bit confusing. There are so many terms to learn, but knowing them will bring you one step closer to actually growing your photography skills.  Here are some terms that I have come to know, and love over the years!

24 photography terms you should


These 24 photography terms will help you learn photography even faster!


  1. White balance– is the balance of color temperature in your pictures. Pictures that are on the cool side have more blue color to them.  Images that are warmer, have more orange in them.
  2. SOOC– acronym for straight out of camera, meaning the image is exactly as it was taken with no post processing or editing done to the image.
  3. exposure– how light or dark your image is.  The exposure triangle consists of 3 settings: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.
  4. shutter speed– the length of time the camera’s shutter stays open.  The longer it’s open, the more light is let in.
  5. depth of field– the distance between subjects in images that are in focus, and those that aren’
  6. aperture/ f-stop– the size of the opening in the camera’s lens which lets light in.  The larger the opening, the more light is let in.  The most confusing part of this definition is remembering that the smaller the f-stop the larger the opening.
  7. bokeh– the way the light makes the blur in your photographs look.
  8. ambient lighting– available light in a particular light.  Light that sets the mood or feel of an image and the environment.  This would not be lighting brought by the photographer- like a flash.
  9. blown image– a blown image has overexposed highlights that are completely white.
  10. catchlights– when a light source gives your subject’s eyes to have beautiful highlights.  You can read more about how to acheive great catchlights here.
  11. grain– grainy texture like tiny dots, also referred to as noise in photographs. The higher your ISO the more noise/ grain there typically is in the image.
  12. ISO– measures the sensitivity to light in your camera’s image sensor.  The lower the number, the less sensitive the light.
  13. metering– measuring the brightness of your subject using your camera’s internal metering sensor.
  14. optical zoom– a true zoom lens in which the lens physically zooms, as compared to a digital zoom in which the camera crops the images to make it appear closer.
  15. vignette– used to draw interest to the center of an image by darkening the outer edges.
  16. prime lens– a lens with a fixed focal length.  Zooming requires moving closer or further to your subject.  Check out my favorite lenses here.scripture-prints
  17. zoom lens– a lens that allows you to get closer or further from your subject without moving.
  18. lifestyle– photography that focuses on real-life situations, and candid shots.
  19. rule of thirds– a composition technique in which you divide your image into 9 equal sections, and align your subject with one of the lines used to divide the images.
  20. negative space– “empty” space in the image used to make the image more interesting.
  21. leading lines– used to draw the viewer’s attention to the subject by using lines in the environment.  You can see more on leading lines here.
  22. fill the frame– a composition technique in which the frame is filled with the subject.  You can see more about filling the frame here.
  23. RAW– unprocessed raw images recorded on the camera.
  24. post processing– processing digital images after they are taken using a program such as Adobe Lightroom, or Photoshop.  Check out all of the cool things you can do with lightroom here.

I hope you found these helpful!  Are there any terms you think I should have added, and I didn’t??  Let me know in the comments!

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